What Should Be Important to the Next HHS Secretary?




What Should Be Important to the Next HHS Secretary?

As Trump Considers Pharma Exec Alex Azar to Replace Tom Price, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Says HHS Leader Should Put Patients First

ST. PAUL, Minn.—After the resignation of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, President Donald Trump is reportedly considering for the post pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar, who worked at HHS under George W. Bush before joining drug maker Eli Lilly, according to Politico.

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) president and co-founder Twila Brase said the next HHS Secretary will have a major impact on health care policy in America—and on the health freedom of patients and doctors across the country.

“The next leader of the Department of Health and Human Services should be committed to both patients and doctors, first and foremost, and know the value of patient privacy,” Brase said. “Another commitment should be to remove the intrusive government involvement in Americans’ everyday health care decisions.”

CCHF says the next HHS Secretary should possess the following seven qualities and commitments:

  1. Have the mind of a practitioner, not a government bureaucrat
  2. Be prepared to deregulate and shrink the department’s size and influence
  3. Recognize consent and privacy rights as essential to ethical patient care
  4. Commit to empower patients, doctors and competitive forces
  5. Use the office to undo managed care controls and advance lifelong insurance options
  6. Restore freedom of conscience rights for physicians and other practitioners
  7. Free physicians and hospitals from the costly, unsafe and intrusive electronic health record (EHR) mandates

In regard to EHRs and health IT, a recent Politico Morning eHealth bulletin reported that David Brailer, the first head of Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recalled that Azar helped lay the foundation for establishing the department’s health IT office. Brailer told Politico that 14 years ago when HHS was first diving into the world of EHRs, Azar felt the government “couldn’t or shouldn’t regulate their use into existence,” but rather, lead by using its powers of insurance coverage, purchasing and with the bully pulpit. This was one of Azar’s “strong convictions,” Brailer added.

Also according to Politico, Azar worked closely with Eric Hargan, who was confirmed earlier this month as Trump’s deputy HHS Secretary and has been acting secretary since Price’s Sept. 29 departure. Azar spent much of the past decade in the drug industry, which he would regulate at HHS. He has been critical of the Affordable Care Act, cheering repeal-and-replace efforts and telling Fox Business that Obamacare was “fundamentally broken” and “circling the drain.”

For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Also view the media page for CCHF here. For more about CCHF’s initiative The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.